The Steampacket - The First Supergroup (1965-1966)

The Steampacket was a short-lived British R&B band.

British blues singer Long John Baldry had discovered a young Rod Stewart in 1965, and recruited him as a second vocalist in his own band The Hoochie Coochie Men. This band soon broke up, and so Baldry and Stewart put together a new group. Joining them was female vocalist Julie Driscoll, along with Brian Auger (organ), Vic Briggs (guitar), Richard Brown (bass) and Micky Waller (drums). The plan was for it to be a soul-style revue, with each singer taking a turn on their own numbers. They played in R&B clubs around London, and also got to support The Rolling Stones on their 1965 tour of Britain. They were managed by Giorgio Gomelksy (who also managed the The Yardbirds), and things looked promising. 
However a number of contractual problems meant they never got to record an album. Baldry and Stewart both retained seperate managers, and Baldry also had a solo record deal with United Artists. Stewart left in 1966, and the band brokeup shortly afterwards with no recorded output to show for their time together.
Baldry continued with his solo career and had some pop hits later in the 60s. Stewart joined The Jeff Beck Group and later the Faces, and of course had a massively successful solo career himself. Driscoll, Auger, Briggs, Brown and Waller formed jazz-rock group The Trinity, who had a hit in 1968 with a cover of Bob Dylan's "This Wheel's On Fire".
Years later some rehearsal tapes from The Steampacket surfaced, and they were hastily put together into an album called The First Supergroup. It shows them as a solid R&B group, with good arrangements driven by Auger's Hammond organ. All three singers get chances to shine, with Rod Stewart's voice proving the most distinctive. It also had some cool jazzy instrumentals. A shame they never got it together to record a proper album, as it could have been great!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

such a frustrating group. could have been, should have been, maybe even was, a great group. but these tracks are the only record and they aren't that great.